Tag Archives: Rouge

Creeper Takes Canada! 10

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On the day of reckoning, Dr. Creeper beamed like a proud parent. He couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he went over his plan of attack. “City hall, and the Bloedel Conservatory, and Science World. If I have time, BC Place and the airport.”

“…And twenty-one, doctor,” I said from my spot nearby, cleaning some tools Creeper said I could keep for my little rampage.

He looked up. “What?”

“Twenty-one times you’ve gone over the plan. I think you know what to do, and I think you’re overthinking it.”

“Overthinking it? Last time, I was foiled at the last minute. This time, I want everything to go smoothly.”

“Keep calm and think about swallowing,” I advised him while lounging on the tank chassis.

I watched as he took my advice. He grabbed for this throat, in fact. After a couple of seconds, he took a big swallow and relaxed. “Point taken,” he said. “Thank you for the reminder. This isn’t like last time. It starts as soon as I roll my machine out into the world. This is it. It’s really time.”

“You got it. But I do have one thing I think you need to go over.” I sat up. “Rouge. He’ll be coming for you, and this time I won’t be there, just like I won’t be there from now on. You got an ace in your hole?”

“I have built a smaller ray pistol, but I will rely on my giant robot for fighting him, and my ejector seat if things go poorly. It is a small flying machine that can get me to safety. This is going to be so much fun!” He pulled out a finned pistol with a really thin barrel and shot it into the air with a cackle. A glowing beam of energy shot out and carved into the roof of the barn.And caught it on fire.

We both looked up at it, then at each other. “Looks like you just shot the firing gun, doc. Good luck out there.” I held out a hand. He shook it with his own gloved hand, looking every bit the classic mad scientist.

“You too. Thank you. You have gone above and beyond. I don’t care what anyone says, you’re not a complete homicidal maniac.”

I raised a finger. “Hey now. Don’t go ruining my reputation. Besides, I needed a break. I’ve been through some shit lately. Now it’s time for both of us to go give that shit back to other people. And, more importantly, when things go wrong, that doesn’t mean you stop. Sad to say that, whether things go good or bad today, this might be the last time we see each other.”

He opened his mouth to say something, but closed it again and just nodded, then began climbing his way up the robot to the head. I backed well away, partially to avoid the flaming debris from the roof, and partially to watch the robot power up. Dr. Creeper’s voice boomed out of the external speaker below the cockpit. “The Doctor is in, Vancouver!” He cackled madly and drove the robot forward, not bothering with the door of our little barn. He took out a good hunk of the wall with it, which prompted me to exit fairly quickly afterward myself. Not before I grabbed the pliers, claw hammer, and giant airplane wrench.

After all, I didn’t have all night to sit around. Time to go fix some cops. But, for atmosphere, I listened to “Ride or Die” by TheUnder in my head. The Thunder Machine deserved it.

The news had it that the Mounties took custody of the junk in Creeper’s lab. I glossed over it before, but the news clip showed the crate on it, complete with the word “dildoes” blurred out.

I’d already taken out one, on the north side of this bay or whatever you’d call it. I could hit one almost as soon as I got into the area where Creeper would be doing his business. The others were a bit more scattered, mainly because they had one way off to the west. I guess if the damn Mounties got off their yaks and used cars, they might be able to cover more ground from a few centralized locations, but they’re just keeping with the same stupid tradition that keeps them linked to the Queen of England.

And what of my transportation, you might be pondering? Well, if you weren’t pondering it before, you’re now pondering what the people who were are pondering. Not me, however. I’d already pondered it and decided to order a pizza. I even warned them the place would be on fire to help them recognize it. I explained I had a malfunction cooking dinner.

When he showed up twenty minutes later, I left the corpse and took the cannoli with me. You know how hard it is to find a pizza place that’ll deliver cannoli? Most won’t even deliver cannolo, let alone more than one. Of course I took that with me after stealing the car away from the guy. I started in just as things started to get good in the Vancouver itself. It was a short drive away, and even though tanks can be surprisingly swift, the T-72 only goes about thirty-seven miles an hour at its fastest. That’s without a giant Nazi-designed mecha torso on top of it.

I saw the opening salvo as Creeper as a very large tracer round shot off high into the sky. I wanted it to look good, hence the tracer part. It exploded, and clouds seemingly faded in. Lightning crackled between them, and then they spread out from the point of impact as the wind started due to pressure and temperature, only to be replaced by more clouds. I’m not sure that’s how cloud formation works, exactly, but it’s what I saw, and we’re dealing with freaky stolen weather mad science from China.

It’s a shame they keep defunding science in the United States. It used to be the leader in mad science. Sure, the Nazis had their day in mad science, and then Operation Paperclip stole their mad scientists, at which point the Russians and United States competed in mad science. It’s just sad to see the United States go from world leader in mad science to needing imports from other countries just to seem crazy. Mad science from China, mad tech support from India, and even mad STDs that can’t be beaten by mere antibiotics. I don’t know where they’re imported from, because people don’t like to talk, but my first guess is Thailand.

On approach to the first RCMP station, I put on my “Destroying Vancouver” playlist. First song: Dance With The Dead’s “Screams and Whispers”. The first guy I saw coming through the door took one look at me with the pliers and hammer out and opened his mouth. My hand flashed out and stopped him. “What’s the matter? Gecko caught your tongue?”

His wide-eyed expression of fear gained an edge of confusion, and then pain when I acted out an abridged version of the Nutcracker using the hammer in my other hand. He went down with no sound but a very pained whimper. I looked up to see that, stealthy as I was, even I couldn’t stop the Mountie right ahead of me at the desk from noticing this. He grabbed for the phone, but stopped as I threw the pliers into his eye with a wet smack. “Don’t touch that dial,” I said cheerfully. Outside, the thunder rolled, perfect for when I added. “It’s time for the lightning round.”

I walked out twenty minutes later wearing a thick chinchilla coat and a gold-colored pair of those stupid shutter shades. It turns out finding my armor, unlike murdering a station full of unsuspecting Mounties, isn’t as easy as pimpin’. Then again, they locked his ass up, so maybe pimpin’s still hard. It helped handle the weather. Sleet had joined the lightning and wind. I heard explosions in the distance as well, but that probably had to do with Creeper’s contraption.

The second attempt that night and third attempt overall, I walked in with my pimp outfit and other stolen clothes on under it. I’m not sure if they use desk Sergeants up here, but the cop equivalent of a receptionist was busier than a Filipino carpenter the day before Good Friday. Hmm.. crucifixion… now there’s an idea that could use a modern-day revival.

Many of the second station were out, trying to handle the twin attacks. I didn’t see to many there. I caved in the front desk cop’s head with the heavy airplane wrench. The next one I saw hurried under the weight of a stack of folders away from me, not having noticed me step into the hallway. I jammed the giant crescent wrench into his back, pinning him to the wall. Looking around, I saw the door to the evidence room opposite him. “Ooh, good positioning.” Then I saw the keypad. “Hey, gimme a hand here.” I swung the wrench, pulling the officer to the other side.

“Ah, fuck! What do you want?” he asked, crying a little and maybe crapping his pants.

“Enter the code into the keypad and I let you go,” I said.

He quickly complied, but messed up the first go. “Shit! My hands. Let me do it again.”

“Sure. Slower this time. Not like this is a life and death situation. For me, at least.”

Second time was a charm, so I nodded and wrenched the wrench, twisting his spine. I did pull it out afterward, but he’d be crawling away from that one. Inside the door, I saw a beautiful sight before my eyes.

One crate claiming to contain Industrial Dildoes. Wild horses couldn’t fuck me away, not even with Viagra.

The station’s alarm didn’t sound until I’d finished pulling on my armor and activating it. The power supply could be better, but I knew I could manage. A quick diagnostic showed nothing seemed to be wrong. I was going to go ahead and find a power box, but then the power to the building went out. Knowing shit outside must have been getting even more real, I dialed up some energy to my gauntlets’ sheathes and knocked a hole in the wall.

I stepped through into a bathroom, where at least one person poked his head out of a stall. Safe to say I fixed his constipation issue. I don’t know that he had one, I just know he definitely didn’t have one after seeing me in my glorious armor.

Call me a sucker for a man on the can, but I let him live. I wanted to go see how Creeper was doing, so I opened the stall next to him and punched a hole in that wall.

Once outside, I jumped up to a rooftop, then aimed for a higher one, trying to get a view of any battles going on. When I finally found the Thunder Machine, it had just ground to a halt. I zoomed in to see a red-clad figure swinging up onto the robot mecha’s arm right arm. He stumbled and a glint of light flashed out to stab into the joint at the elbow. The left arm swung around and the fist opened into a gun barrel that fired. It missed, taking out part of a nearby building. Rouge had jumped onto the right shoulder, barely hanging on by stabbing his sword into the metal.

He pulled a gun and fired at the eyes on the Thunder Machine’s head. Now that’s just not nice. The head turned toward him slowly, then spouted flames. That’d be the mouth-mounted flamethrower. Not exactly where I’d put it if I sat in the head, but that’s World War II-era mecha design for you.

Rouge fell down, landing hard on the body of the T-72. Unfortunately, the Thunder Machine couldn’t turn very well to hit him. The right arm could have, possibly, but the lower portion of it didn’t move at all. The hero had all the time in the world to recover, and noticed the connections between the upper body and tank. He started hacking away at them. Good luck. As if we’d just ignore a small but vital weak point.

He didn’t underestimate us, though. I saw him reach down. Then his motorcycle sped into view. He turned and lashed his whip out around the handlebars. The motorcycle rose up in a wheelie, then jumped. Rouge ducked to the side as the motorcycle crashed into the connections, then inexplicably exploded like a Pinto-cycle. I think it had to be more than just gasoline if it allowed him to cut and pry the armor off the wires and supports.

See, it may take a hell of a lot to melt steel or cut through it, but even just heating it up diminishes its strength as the molecules speed up and begin to move apart. Steel alone could lose like ninety percent of its strength from a jet fuel fire alone without melting. I guess I need to learn more about the effect of whatever super premium gas Rouge put in his Rouge-o-cycle.

The Thunder Machine groaned and tipped. Its left arm reached out to try and stabilize it, but it lacked full use of the right arm for balance. The machine tipped and fell unceremoniously, the left arm rising to take a few last falling shots at one of the buildings in its view.

I hopped to a closer rooftop to watch as Rouge approached the head of the machine. He sheathed his sword, put away that damn whip, and redrew his revolver. He took his time to check on the cylinder, then aimed it at the head and said something. I continued coming closer and closer. Just in case.

The face of the Thunder Machine blew off, forcing Rouge back to avoid getting hit by whatever was happening. Blades unfolded and swung, picking up speed. The cockpit of the Thunder Machine pushed itself off with two spindly metal legs before the blades picked it up like a small helicopter and carried it into the air. Rouge aimed his gun at it, then reached back to pull his whip. The whip lashed out and grabbed hold of one of the legs of the cockpit. A thin piece of metal poked out of the escaping cockpit and blasted the whip, cutting through it. Nice shot.

The severing of the whip threw Rouge back. Unsteady, he aimed his revolver, but the escape pod rose higher and higher. He never fired, though. “I’ll get my chance to stop you yet, Dr. Creeper,” he said. I landed behind him just as he holstered the pistol. He swiftly turned and quickfired on me. Three bullets ricocheted off me; two in the chest, one in the head.

“You’ll stop breathing before you stop him,” I said. I left a hologram in my place and rushed forward, taxing my holodiscs with my own invisibility. I uppercutted Rouge, knocking him into the air with my right fist. With my left hand, I grabbed his ankle and swung him overhead to land hard on the hard steel of the top of the T-72. Reaching for my belt, I stomped on his asshole hard enough to catch hold of it on my boot. I kicked him into the air all over again. He even did a lazy flip, crying out in pain. I pulled a chicken grenade off my belt and raised it in my fist, where it stayed until Rouge landed on both. I knelt a little, then stood back up, rotated him sixty-three along the Z axis. I let him drop, pulling back my hand and the torn-off head of the chicken grenade. The grenade struggled to walk with its neck embedded in Rouge’s lower colon. Then, the cock in Rouge’s ass exploded.

“Just the tip,” I said to myself, then howled with laughter.

Good luck, Creeper. Looks like this is where we part ways.

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Creeper Takes Canada! 7

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“Not even the tip?” I asked.

Rouge rapidly shook his head from his position handcuffed to the bed of his cell. “I was just playing with you. I’m not into guys.”

“Not even when you could fake some Stockholm Syndrome to try and get free?” I asked. I pretended to drop the keys between his legs. “Whoops. I seem to have dropped the keys to those cuffs. I think they fell in your asshole. I better try to fish them out.”

“No, no, no, no, no, no!” he said. “I can feel them against my balls. You don’t have to touch anything to get them back. Or even leave, I don’t care. But I don’t like this kind of thing.”

I rolled my eyes. “Tease. Next time, don’t start flirting in the middle of a fight unless you want to go down when you go down.” I grabbed my keys back and left the room. There goes getting laid on this trip. He might realize I left him handcuffed in there before long. I might have some of the minion team let him loose later.

From there, I went to find Creeper. He’d been overseeing the loading of the weather formula containers into the airship when I ducked out to try and convince Rouge to join me for a little friendly swordplay. Imagine my surprise when I found him almost taking off without me. I had to run to make it aboard along with the last of the mad lab assistants.

“All aboard who’s coming aboard!” yelled one of them, who wore a pirate hat and a lab coat with a skull and crossbones on the back.

“And just who might you be?” I asked as we pulled up the ladders and ropes to begin our ascent.

I gave me a mock salute. “I’m the first mate, on account of my experience on my dad’s boat and my research into aeronautics. I used to work at the lab.”

“Well then, matey, make sure your poopdeck’s prepared for some action. I have trouble believing there’s only one superhero in such a large city, and I somehow doubt this is going to go smoothly. Things never go smoothly. People don’t like being frozen for some reason. I blame Florida’s immigration campaign. ‘Florida… because you’re so old, you only want to pay for air conditioning.’”

“…Right, sir, or whatever I call you,” he responded.

“I’m the Hussar, so that’s what you call me. You know, that, or, uh, His Hussarness, or uh, or El Hussarino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. Either way, I’m the man with the sword.”

“Sure. Fine. I just wouldn’t go back for it if I were you. We’re a bit high up.”

I looked down to where I should have had my jian sword hanging at my hip and found nothing. That’s not good. And he was right. Most people think of airships as being fairly slow, but we’d gotten high enough off the ground that my survival would be painful and involve rehab.

I tried to think where I left it. I had it at lunch, I remember, because I stabbed it into the sliced chicken sandwich to call “dibs” on it before someone else could grab it. And then I used it to help spread some of that Japanese mayonnaise on the sandwich. Oh, and to pick some chicken out of my teeth after that. Then there was trying to get this one really annoying clinger out of my nose while sitting on the toilet, followed by washing it off in the sink and waiting under the damn hand dryer way too long. I even had it when I went in to try and seduce our prisoner with handcuffs and coercion. Ya know, if I had just slipped him a roofie, that would have worked out. Can’t say ‘no’ if you’re too incapacitated by drugs to say anything at all. Can’t say ‘yes,’ either, but that’s just how intoxication goes.

And after trying to make some hot gay rice pudding with that cocktease, I came straight here. Straight here. No stops. No bumping into pickpockets.

Well, crap. He must have footsied it right out of its sheath while he was giving me those pouty “don’t rape me,” puppydog eyes. I hate when people’s pets look at me like they don’t want me stuffing and mounting them. And I’m no taxidermist.

So that’s a hero back in our base with access to a sword. I’m sure it’ll be fine. Yeah, right. “Hey, first mate person!” I called out. He’d been walking away during all my pondering.

“Yeah?”

“Where’s the radio on this thing? I need to call back down to base.”

“We piled it all into the bridge.”

I burst into the bridge. “Number 1, report!”

From back behind me down the deck, he said, “You ran to the door of the bridge! Should be a radio in there!”

“Right. Hey everyone. Hey Doc. There’s a radio in here, right?” I asked, looking around at the people all standing up at tables and shelves with equipment set up.

Creeper pointed back down the airship. “Oh, there you are, Hussar. The radio was making too much noise and taking up too much space, so we moved it to the maintenance closet.”

“Right, thanks. By the way, you didn’t leave anything that could fly back at the lab, did you?”

Dr. Creeper shook his head.

I ran back, almost bowling over the first mate trying to find the maintenance room. They cleverly hid it in the room marked “Broom Closet”. I threw open the door and found myself inundated with smoke and noise. The radio operator had techno music blasting while he smoked a cigarillo.

“Turn down the music ya friggin’ bass head! It sounds like a strip club in here.” I yelled. The operator scrambled to turn the music off. “Just get some dancing girls in cages, why don’t you?”

“Sorry, my man. What do you need?”

“Whenever you get done practicing for your DJ gig, I need to call down to the base and tell them that our prisoner is armed and presumed escaping.”

“Got it.” He turned and fiddled around with the dials, then pulled up a microphone. “This is Creeper One to Ground Control. Someone pick up.”

There was a sound like a bunch of scrabbling, a thud, and a screaming.

I leaned down over the mic. “What’s going on down there? Come in!”

“Uh, everything is under control. Situation normal,” the base responded.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Uh, had a slight weapon malfunction, but, uh, everything’s perfectly alright now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?”

That didn’t sound suspicious at all. “I’m doing good. A bit tired. That Rouge really took it out of me. And I mean that sentence in all kinds of ways. He took it like a champ. I was definitely not his first. And the mouth on him, geez. The guy could suck a golf ball through a garden hose, and swallow cold molasses. Feel free to stop by his cell, unless you’re a woman. He is strictly dickly.”

“Like hell!” the radio person on the other side yelled. “Um, I mean…”

I waited a second for a continuation of that sentence before I asked, “Rouge?”

“No.”

“Don’t lie now.”

“…Yes.”

“Crap. Expletive meaning only, Rouge. I know you can’t. You’re pretty well backed up now, I’m sure, after the ramming up in there. Ya know, from the sex.”

“We didn’t have sex!”

“Lovemaking then, whatever. Listen, you need to go back to your cell and think about what you’ve done. And whatever you do, do not, I repeat, do not try to stop this evil scheme.”

“Uh, negative.” Then there was a loud sound and the operator started wiggling some knobs.

“I think he hung up on us,” I said.

“At least there’s nothing down there he can fly up here, right?” asked the radio operator.

I shrugged. “We didn’t buy a spare airship. Bank vaults aren’t just packed full of cash. So it’s just some cars, some vans. A few extra parachutes, but those aren’t so good at getting up here. Oh, and my motorcycle with the rockets.” I paused a second. “Do we have any anti-air weapons on this boat?”

He frowned. “The doctor said they were saw blade harpoons, whatever that means.”

“Get ’em ready and pointed down,” I said.

I headed outside to find the bridge again. Just before I opened the door, someone called out, “Holy crap!” I checked over the side of the airship.

Rouge, asshole, flew through the air, holding tight to my motorcycle as the rocket engines shot him toward us at a sharp angle. It was awesome, but that was the kind of awesome thing I should have been doing, not him. Not only is he a cockblocker, but he’s a crotch rocket cuckold. On the plus side, there wasn’t a whole lot he could do to take down the airship with a sword, or even his pistol.

He didn’t do either of those. Instead, he sat up and let go of the handlebars. He let go with is legs, too, pulling a back flip as the motorcycle flew out from under him and revealing a pack on his back. As he straightened up and began to fall, fabric opened up and spread out, revealing the purpose of the pack on his back.

And the motorcycle just kept coming. I mean, damn. Did he jam the handlebars or something? There’s wind up here, but it flew right at the balloon.

“Quick!” I yelled out impotently, “Pull a sharp right!”

The motorcycle crashed into the balloon and rammed right through, which is survivable. Even at our height, balloons don’t have very fast crashes. Then the cycle hit an internal support and exploded. Most cars don’t explode when they crash, but most cars aren’t loaded with rocket fuel.

A groaning preceded a loud snap. The airship tilted over sharply, throwing me against the side of the bridge. I laid there for a few seconds to get my bearings and figure out if we were going to roll even more. From the open door of the radio room further toward the rear, I heard the radio blasting “Nearer, My God, to Thee”. It contrasted nicely with the screams from falling henchmen, who would hopefully remember their parachutes. I mean, if they’d only gotten on at the last minute like me, maybe they wouldn’t.

But now wasn’t the time to lament lost chutes. I had a doctor to save. Dammit, readers, I’m a villain, not an emergency worker!

I crawled over to the door of the bridge and looked in. I saw Dr. Creeper holding on to the door on the opposite side, Vancouver far below. I could see the fear in his goggles as he looked up at me. His gloves slipped and he fell prey to gravity’s mentally-disabled kid squeezy hug of affection.

I pulled myself over into the door way and dove for the other, following after him. He had spread his body out to try and slow down. Good for him, because I didn’t have to rely on mere physics to catch up. I clicked my heels together and felt rocket science add to the power of gravity.

I kicked them off briefly as I tackled Creeper. “You ok?” he asked.

The way he clutched at his chest, I thought he might be having a heart attack. After a moment, he spoke up, “You knocked the air out of me!”

“There are worse fluids to lose,” I said. “Now hold on. It’s time to give gravity the finger.”

I swung my legs down underneath me and clicked my heels together. “There’s no place like ground, there’s no place like ground, there’s no place like ground,” I said as the rockets kicked on and fought against gravity. I didn’t add any kind of power dial, and fuel was limited, so I made my careful descent by turning them off, then slowing my fall with the rockets. When we landed, I fell down with Dr. Creeper over me in the middle of a street. Some people noticed us, but most were busy gawking at the airship crashing at a glacial pace.

“Thank you for flying Air Jordan, we’re now landing in Vancouver, the local time is 2:34 PM, and the weather is clear.” One of our henchmen came screaming out of the sky to splat nearby. “Correction, it’s raining men.”

“Holy shit!” said Creeper as he stood up, still gasping for breath as he looked at the ship, then felt all over himself as if to make sure he was really there.

I shrugged. “Any crash you walk away from, right Doc?”

“Yes, I suppose. That was certainly grand, I suppose.”

That’s when the cavalry arrived for the other side. Dozens of men on horses flooded the street, all of them armed with SMGs pointed right at myself and Dr. Creeper. “Royal Canadian Mounted Police!” one of them yelled.

Dr. Creeper raised his hands to the sky. When he saw me reaching for the butterfly sword hidden on my back, he tugged at my hand. “Discretion and valor, Hussar. We can’t break out of a morgue.”

I hesitated, then raised my hands as well. If it had just been me, I suppose I’d have tried fighting my way through the Canadian kilted yaksmen. “Fine, doc. But you’re wrong. There are ways to get those little doors open.”

“Let’s not find out, alright?” asked Creeper just before the Mounties dogpiled us.

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Creeper Takes Canada! 6

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Now, we couldn’t just unleash our blimp on the world and expect people to think straight in the panic. I mean, I could. Creeper didn’t want to. But it gave me time to work out a few last minute kinks and see what I could do to catch Rouge before he interferes further with our plans. So Creeper started planning a bit of advertising while I practiced with my swords, finished my boots, and began tinkering with my new motorcycle.

“What are you doing there?” Creeper stopped by to ask. He mostly kept his attention on his tablet, pushing buttons on it.

“Well, since I got the boots fixed, they gave me an idea for this thing. Hopefully it’ll be ready by the time things go into the air. What about you? I thought you had some gasses to mix,” I looked up from wrenching away at my bike with a crescent.

He looked around for a chair and plopped into the nearby recliner I’d set up before holding up the tablet. “I can monitor that here. I love these new computers. My daugher showed me how to use them.”

“Yeah, you said she was going by the traditional name. How’s she doing? Have I had run-ins with her?”

He went back to examining his tablet, putting a finger to something and dragging it elsewhere. “She saw you in a bar once but she didn’t think you noticed her.”

“Huh,” I suppose there are plenty of people like that. “Well, at least things didn’t turn violent.”

“She said the bouncer didn’t recognize you, so you forced him to grab your balls, then cut his hand off. That was the first time she ever saw the rocket launchers come out there. You worried everyone.”

Huh. I mean, I don’t remember the specific incident. It just doesn’t stand out that much, though it has been awhile. “Sounds like something I’d do.”

“You worry a lot of people. She said half the villains are worried you will turn on them. I understand it more after our encounter with the Canucks and Moose Knuckles. It seems like the supervillains fight each other a lot.” He leaned over his tablet even more, watching something closely.

“True,” I grabbed a screwdriver and tried attaching a little something near the muffler. “Oligarch had his plan, and I stopped that. The Fluidic aliens had their plan, but I stopped that. I took over, and Cercopagis Lysis tried to take me out. Then the heroes unleashed a copy of me to fight me. If they hadn’t done that, I bet the Claw had a plan to betray me. And now I might be the one to stop Claw. Probably will, all things considered.”

“Why can’t the heroes do it?” he asked, looking up.

I shrugged. “Dunno. Technically, he’s the legitimate ruler of his country. If, by legitimate, you mean he killed the previous dictator, rules with an unquestioned iron fist, sends tutors to third world countries to teach torture techniques, and has been legally recognized by every country in the United Nations. To be fair, the United States does that torture tutor thing, too.”

“Why does that stop the heroes?” Creeper asked.

I scratched my head with the screwdriver, then grabbed a socket wrench. “Superheroes keep the peace and uphold law and order. In his kind of country, they uphold his kind of law and order. It gets extremely iffy if our superheroes go around toppling other countries. Other countries might reasonably ask why it is that a citizen of another country is allowed to impose foreign values on a place they probably don’t even speak the language of. That, and there’s all kinds of legal grey areas there that heroes don’t like to get tangled up in. So heroes aren’t good for the really important things like that. Except maybe Titan.”

Creeper looked up. “I thought of joining him. Maybe after this is over, I’ll help him with weather and robotic farming in another country. Think about it, towering Nazi-designed robots marching through the verdant fields of sub-Saharan Africa.”

“As fun as towering, Nazi-designed robots make anything, agriculture’s using drones now. But we’ll blow that bridge up when we get to it. For now, we have a ransom to make.”

We decided to raid this legislative session of the city council. On a good day, they might have a single bored reporter there, or a couple of high ones. Creeper got on the phone and spread some rumors about a scandal coming out. That might even double the journalistic turnout. I went behind his back and sent in a rumor that a supervillain would attack the session. If it bleeds, it leads.

I brought along the Hussar Cycle and lagged behind the others quite a bit, since I wasn’t really disguised. We had earpieces on this job, so I could stay in contact while the others went on ahead in the cars.

The plan involved them busting into the session, with Creeper’s ray gun waving around. If the cops were stupid, they might get laser beamed. If not, no casualties. They’re really nice about it all. Creeper would take the stage, or whatever they have in the city council, and make his big announcement.

“Citizens of Vancouver, you are now on the verge of an ice age! I am here to wreak havoc on your environmentalist efforts, unless you pay me one billion dollars!”

There was much gasping. Then, “Um, how?”

“Cash. Or gold! I will take bearer bonds, even.”

“Like, right now? Nobody has that kind of money on them.”

“We will set up a dead drop!”

I knew we forgot something. I reached over and grabbed the cell phone from some woman walking by next to me. “Hey-!” she started to say, until she suddenly fell asleep after taking a fist-sized sleeping pill.

I gave my phone a call from the new one, then told Creeper the phone number. “If they call that number, we’ll give them the location of the dead drop.”

“And here is the number to call once you have the money. Tie up the line if you wish. It is your loss.”

“Who are you, mysterious and menacing stranger?” Geez, is someone feeding these reporters lines? I wonder if that’s the kind of stupid phrasing they come up with when they know this sort of thing is coming.

“I am Dr. Creeper! Mwahahahaha!”

Ouch. He needed more work on the laugh.

I heard the sound of doors bursting open as someone fell to the ground. Then a smack, a thud, and someone moaning in pain. “It will certainly be a cold day in hell before I let you turn my city into a block of ice. Allow me to express my pointed discontent with your plan,” said a voice it took me a moment to place.

Luckily, I had some help from one of the reporters, “Rouge!”

I took off, heading for the council building. As the assistant to the bad guy, I get to make my own separate cool entrance, and this was the time for it.

I passed by Rouge’s cycle by the sidewalk, along with some limping henchmen who cheered upon seeing me. I circled around until I found a reinforced van sitting a few feet back from a hole in the wall. I zipped right through, clipping a retreating minion as I did so. I found Rouge there, running on a fucking wall to dodge ray blasts from Dr. Creeper with a sword in his hand. I headed for them. Rouge landed right in front of Creeper and brought his sword down to knock the raygun from the Doctor’s hands. My sword blocked it.

“Hussar, deal with this man,” said Dr. Creeper.

“You won’t stop me unless you step up your game,” said Rouge.

I swung my blade at Rouge’s head, causing him to back off. He tried to get around me toward the old man as the other villain gathered up his henchmen to go. I drove a tight circle around to get back in front of him and block his path. I then began to circle him as tightly as I could, stabbing. Rouge put his skill to use blocking and deflecting my stabs. I kept him off balance enough to prevent him from stopping Creeper’s retreat. And even from attacking me. Then he deflected a strike too little and I gave him a small cut on the arm. Despite that, a smile grew on his face. I almost felt it coming when he changed that and whipped his sword around to give me a small slice on the shoulder. Then he vaulted over the back of my bike.

I had to spin the bike around, leaving skid marks on the floor, but Rouge’s focus was entirely on me. He had that darn smile on his face still. He raised his sword in a salute. “I needed that scratch to awaken me.”

“Are you having fun yet?” I asked.

“It is rare for common criminals to give me a challenge,” he responded.

“I’m far from a common criminal, myself and my friends. Careful, if you focus on me, you’ll never catch him.”

His smile twitched. “You’re right. I should focus on the others. What reason do I have to pursue you instead?”

I reached over and grabbed the first person I could get my hands on and pulled him across my boke. A blond young man, a bit of a looker. I left my hand on his ass, purely to steady him on the bike. “Can’t let an innocent hostage get hurt, can you?” I gunned the bike and headed out for the gap in the wall. The rest of the team had taken off in the cars. I took a little longer to navigate the wreckage. Rouge took the time to run outside to his bike. Since I’d deliberately taken so long, I only had a few seconds of head-start. I wasn’t going my fastest, either. Extra weight of a hostage in an awkward position.

I soon saw Rouge approach in my rear view. A gunshot took off the rearview on my side. I turned and raised a blade, catching his as a weak swipe came my way. I slowed down to move alongside him. I sat up then to give myself better range of movement. Cocky bastard decided to outdo me by jumping up to his feet. I pressed down on the hostage slung over in front of me and got to my feet.

Rouge and I exchanged thrusts and swings like that. When a car threatened to come between us the first time, he kicked his handlebars to steer around it. We met again in front, sparks flying off our blades as I leveraged our words up in between us. We both stood there, looking into each other’s eyes with blades between us and either grins or gritted teeth.

A bus was coming up, and I adjusted my footing to plant a foot on the handlebars. I swerved around it and took a breath that I soon cut short as a swipe from atop the bus almost knocked my sword free. Rouge ran atop it, but dodging was as easy as ducking now that I knew he was there. At the front, he lept down onto his bike.

When I brought us together, we caught blades again. This time, I whipped out my butterfly sword from behind my back. Rouge hopped onto the front of my bike then, with the hostage between us. I backed off to avoid a stabbin’, at which point Rouge reached down and grabbed the back of the hostage’s belt to help him across to his own bike. “Let’s keep this between the two of us, shall we?” He winked at me.

I nodded. “Fine. I like it… intimate.”

“Perhaps once I have you in handcuffs,” he said, “we shall have time to get to know each other better. It is a shame to lose someone so exciting and refreshing.”

Ok, so he’s into me. Somehow. Must be because he doesn’t know me. Or he’s trying to get to me. Little does he know, when I play gay chicken, I play gay chicken all the way.

“I hope you feel the same when you’re in cuffs.” I kicked at a newly-installed button between Rouge’s legs. The rocket engines attached to the bike kicked in. I grabbed my spear in its holster to hold on. Rouge flew back toward me and almost went off the end of the bike, losing his sword. I grabbed hold of his rear collar and held onto him, then threw him onto the hood of a car we passed. Then I dropped down to kill the rockets and circle back around to grab him.

I found him conked unconscious with a crack in the windshield of an extremely distraught driver who wasn’t in the mood to argue once I pulled Rouge’s gun and held it on him.

As for Rouge, he awoke to find himself handcuffed in a little cell in the lab, watched by camera. He should really get a brain scan, but we had to settle for giving him a couple aspirin next to a plate of food and some water.

“Now, Doctor,” I said, looking at the monitor’s screen at him as Creeper observed the trapped hero. “I believe your plan can now proceed with no obstructions at all.”

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Creeper Takes Canada! 4

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In spite of how much more fun this nonsensical little side job is, my thoughts keep returning to the situation with The Claw and Master Academy. It’d be easier to take seriously if his ally in the United States wasn’t a nincompoop in addition to being a fascist puppet of a foreign power. To be fair, that’s not mutually exclusive in any sense. Lenin was a puppet of a foreign power. Mussolini was a fascist moron. Contrary to popular perception, dictators in general, and fascists in particular, are terribly inefficient at getting anything done.

That’s holding stuff up in the United States, since now he can’t get pretty much anything pushed through in terms of legislation, and his own party just spent eight straight years arguing that executive orders aren’t legitimate. And while he’s running around like that, the only thing he’s not doing is projecting power overseas to halt any advances by hostile countries, like the Russians, North Koreans, and the Claw.

Technically, we’re a bit closer now that we’re now close to the Pacific, but the Claw’s been going for smaller targets than Canada. I’m fairly certain the U.S. military won’t sit around on their hands if anyone goes after their closest northern neighbor. I’m not worried about him coming after me. The guy probably doesn’t even know I’m alive, though I still have at least one loose end to chase down at some point when I get back to interrogating Master Academy. So I don’t know why I felt like checking in on everything.

There’s not a whole lot going on. The Claw’s been pretty good at preventing information from leaking out from within his regime, and North Korea doesn’t have a free press.

But there’s still stuff to note. Captain Lightning hasn’t been seen in weeks. People don’t know if it’s due to retirement or something a bit more sinister, because there’s been nothing released about him. I know the guy was old, but the timing is suspicious.In light of that, I checked on some more of the big names.

War Man had been meant to ship out to Germany. And that’s the last they have about him. And here I am without an easy way to access Department of Defense records to see what he’s doing over there. Something about mole men almost collapsing Germany into a giant sinkhole. They were a Soviet-era super soldier project that got shut down, put into cold storage, and lost in the shuffle, allegedly. That’s the Russians’ story and they’re sticking to it. Frozen Russian mole man-pops. Knowing the Russians, they’d be polonium-flavored.

Eschaton, that fantastic flaming man, saved the Philippines from being swallowed by the sea due to some aquatic villain called Silver Shark. From the picture, it looks like a human cyborg with shark pieces. I hope he survived, because that sounds awesome. That’s the last the news has on Eschaton, but that was just a couple weeks back.

I know I’m not the type to fanboy over superheroes. I’m probably the last person to hope they’re doing well. I just feel better knowing they’re around to deal with The Claw. But if The Claw’s targeting Master Academy, I still feel a nagging urge to do something about that for the way they took me in. I’d rather the heroes do the good deed so I can avoid it. And I don’t trust The Claw. He’s slippery, wily. He’s got a brain on him, and surrounds himself with a shroud of mystery.

The Claw lives in a palace. No, he stays in a bunker. He tours his nation every day dressed as a normal person. He rules from a tower that allows him to see over the whole of his country. Who knows what the truth is? For all I know, he’s fighting on the front lines and killing anyone who sees him.

He has long, sharp claws. He has laser claws. He can grow giant. He’s super-intelligent. He’s actually an alien, or a fae, or some mutated human. I know that at least two of those are true. I’ve seen the documents and photos about him growing to 100 feet tall and throwing a train at someone. He’s yellow, with large eyes, a mouth full of fangs, pointy ears, and claws. I wonder what color he bleeds?

I had too much time for such speculation while building my rocket boots, which I still haven’t finished. In addition to being totally cool, they will give me much greater mobility. A villain on the go needs to be able to move quickly, and vertical movement is always a plus in an urban environment. Or against an enemy who can’t fly. Just watch for thrown rocks, unless the opponent is Gorilla Awesome. Stuff still gets thrown… just not rocks. Not really, but he would hate that joke.

Between cyber stalking superheroes and strapping explosives to my feet, I also took the time to figure out what I’d do for weapons. I felt I needed at least one as Hussar, and I’m not much of a spear guy. I’ll keep one in reserve, but I need a new one of those, too. Lucky me, the same people I got my armor pieces and hussar wings from had some legitimate weapons and knew where to find any others I might want to try out.

I brought along some of the new gang to help with that. Creeper’s hold-up of the armored transport wasn’t just about warming up; he’s been using the cash for cars, hired help, and whatever equipment he can get to arm his new minions. After the run-in with the gangs and police, I think it’s safe to say he doesn’t mind some lethal ordinance. He’s not giving them anything too powerful, though. He settled on rifles that look like long, smooth canisters except for a barrel with a fin sticking up. They fire lasers of adjustable strength. The lowest range will heat someone up and leave them with light burns. The highest puts a hole in people. They’ll need them. They sure as shit aren’t swordsmen.

I settled on a thin Jian sword, a type of Chinese sword that doesn’t look particularly out of place. I like how it moves, and I don’t need anything too fancy. I tossed in another couple blades, too. Like a shorter sword, a butterfly sword, in a sheath under the hussar wings. And a trench knife in a boot sheath. Knives are fun. But apparently not fun enough for people to hang out and be my stabbin’ dummies.

Before I could head to the nearest grocery store meat department to test my new blades out on the pork, I received a call from Dr. Creeper. “I need to plan my debut at the bank. It would be a shame not to utilize your experience. Are you available to meet me back at the lab?”

“Sure, I’ll come down to the lab and see what’s on the slab,” I said. At least with a bank job, I stand a good chance of being able to test these out on a different sort of pig.

Dr. Creeper had a detailed map of the interior courtesy. “I must credit you with that. Your zeppelin drone gave me many ideas. I thought, ‘Why not use a normal balloon like someone delivers to a loved one for their birthday or anniversary?’ and that is how I we have these pictures.”

“Good thinking. The tellers will have a bunch of cash, but nothing groundbreaking. Most of a bank’s money is electronic. There’s also whatever the vault’s packing, but you have to prevent anyone from closing it.”

He smiled behind a pair of thick lab goggles. “I have just the thing!”

We showed up bright and early to make our withdrawal. Eight AM, a time when no reasonable human being should be awake. Lucky for me, bank’s aren’t human. They’re not even mammals. A single red balloon wafted into the bank ahead of us with the word “It” in white lettering on the side so as to convince people it is some sort of marketing ploy related to that movie.

There are trailers for it online. A clown in a sewer, a bunch of kids; it must be some sort of comedy or drama about a punch of children finding and befriending a clown. Clowns are nice. I don’t understand why some people get creeped out by them. I’ve even fucked a woman in clown makeup. Y’all might be wondering, based on the ambiguity of that sentence, who was wearing the makeup? The answer is: yes.

But enough about my sex life. It was time to penetrate this bank vault and pop its Gecko-robbing cherry.

Dr. Creeper maneuver the balloon into place from the back of a van, landing it against the inside crack of the open vault door. He had a way to use it to jam open the vault if need be. At that, he tapped a microphone sticking out of the console he worked at. “Listen to me, listen. It is time to act. This is a stick-up.”

As the minions exited the cars with us, he turned to me, rubbing his hands. “That is fun. I want to say it inside, like in the movies.”

“By all means,” I said. “You better enjoy yourself. I mean, we got costumes and ray guns and swords. There’s no reason for people in spandex to take themselves too seriously.”

“I prefer pants. They hide the braces better. Now, you should make your entrance. Good luck, Gecko!” He gave me an enthusiastic thumbs-up, grinning like a jackass. It was infections, and I smiled as I pulled my hood on, adjusted the eyeholes, and clamped the collar on around my neck.

As I stepped through the door of the bank, I drew my sword and took in the situation. The henchmen and -women had the tellers and manager down on the carpet. There were a couple of oldtimers on the ground, but they didn’t appear to be roughed up or in the midst of heart attacks.

“Any problems?” I asked, going for a gruff tone. Not “Batman,” gruff, where it sounds like someone’s jacking off in front of their neighbor’s sprinkler at 3:32 AM every third Tuesday of the month. Just gruff. Gruff enough to kick a troll’s ass off a bridge. Ugh. Seems I’m overindulging a bit on this trip. I’ve become drunk on bad similes and metaphors.

One of the men shook his head. I nodded to him. “You and…” I picked one of our henchwomen. “You. See to the drawers.”

I walked over to a little counter with brochures and hopped up on it. I looked to the tellers. “Unless you’re enamored with dying, I suggest you all use inside voices and stay calm. It would be impolite to ask your coworkers to clean up any messes you leave behind.” I swung my sword and threw it down into the wood between my feet. A few of the tellers jumped where they lay as it hit the wood. I hopped down, letting my gauntleted hand slide down the blade. It seemed to stick enough, so I left it there and walked back to the door to open it for Dr. Creeper.

He rushed in, a wide smile across his face. His black pants and large white lab coat hid the leg and back braces well. “I am Dr. Creeper, and this is a stick-up! We will be taking all the money in your vault now.”

The men cheered at his enthusiasm, and the remaining bunch who weren’t busy emptying cash drawers ran to the back.

“We will have a meeting about that later,” Dr. Creeper whispered to me.

It went pretty smoothly from there on out. A man in a mask is just as good as an “Out to lunch,” for convincing most people to stay away. So is a gaggle of masked goons carrying bags of money out to a bunch of cars.

It went well until one of them ran back in without his laser rifle. “Doctor, sir! There’s a hero!”

“Funny,” I said. “I didn’t hear self-righteous posturing and inflating ego…”

“Deal with it, Hussar,” ordered Creeper. Yay, fun.

I turned, grabbed my sword, and walked over to the door. When I stepped outside, I saw a man in black. Dark red pants, red long-sleeve shirt, black boots, and a red cloth strip with eye slits tied across his eyes and upper head. He wore a black cowboy hat atop his head. A pair of henchmen were trying to take him on hand-to-hand and failing badly. He was jumping all over the cars and van, easily keeping his distance, and slowly undressing them with careful swipes of his rapier. He held a gleaming silver revolver in his left hand, which probably belonged in the holster on his right hip with a red rose icon on it.

“I see your boss has come to check on your progress. Don’t worry, there is always another job out there somewhere,” he said it with a cynical lack of enthusiasm as he eyed me.

One of the minions turned around and got a swipe across his butt that sent him running toward me. “Get out of here!” the red fellow yelled at his backside.

“Who are you supposed to be?” I asked, readying my blade for a fight.

The man stepped down off the hood of a car. After a moment, he slid his revolver back into its holster and brought his own sword up to tap against the edge of mine. “I am Rouge. When someone has a problem around this city, I fix it. Your friends were barely worth my time. For your sake, you had better be more substantial.”

I pulled the butt-swiped minion back behind me and caught the other one’s eye who stood behind Rouge. I nodded off to the side. He got the idea and got out of the way of any brewing fight between myself and this swashbuckler.

I’m not what anyone would call an expert. I’ve been trained, but I’ve spent more time practicing how to fight with potted plants than I have with a sword lately. So when he feinted the first time, I took the bait just a little. The second time, not so much. When he tried a third time, to play around with me, I didn’t react at all, even as he took an extra step to avoid a counter attack. People like to think in threes, myself included. It was while he moved that I thrust with my sword toward where his left leg would have to end up to maintain good balance.

He pulled off some tango spin and came around to sweep my sword to the side. And so we went for a tense minute. He would try to play with me and show off his obvious skill, forcing me rush to ward off series of lighting-quick slices that he didn’t mean to land. If he wanted my sword out of my hands, he could have done it and killed me. I hated the restriction and hoped I could lure him in close enough to pull out the butterfly sword real quick and open his throat, but he did and excellent job keeping his distance. It worked pretty well for him until I circled around to a trash can by the road. I turned away for a moment to throw it at him. He had to move back to avoid it, and then further still to dodge my thrown sword. I’m not one for jumping kicks, but his sword didn’t deflect steel toes so well and I knocked him back with a dropkick.

“You are holding back on me!” he said as he recovered too quickly for my taste. At least he let me get back to my feet. He even let me retrieve my sword from were it lay. “Are you afraid for my feelings? Rest assured, I think I can take it.”

“This is a distraction!” called Dr. Creeper from the doorway. He raised his raygun and fired at Rouge. The masked man rolled to the side, then again to avoid my swing. When he stood, it was with his back to a wall making up the front exterior of the bank. He pulled a bullwhip out from behind his back. It swung out and lashed around a streetlight. He ran up the wall and away from where my sword could cut his whip, allowing him to swing free to land on a black motorcycle. It roared to life, raising him up on its rear tire. I think I saw him salute me with his sword. A blast from Dr. Creeper’s ray gun missed, striking where the front of Rouge’s motorcycle should have been. Instead, the vigilante sped off doing a wheelie.

I looked to the cars to see if we could pursue or even if the money was loaded up and noticed what Creeper meant. The tires on the vehicles the minions had been moving money to had been slashed.

“Quickly, get everyone out. Load what we can fit. There is more room in the van,” ordered Creeper. He stepped walked over to check on me. “How are you?”

“I’m not slashed or anything. He’s called Rouge, and he’s going to be trouble if we run into him again. He’s much better than I am with a sword, I know that much; just playing with me. He won’t be so much trouble if I can handle him more permanently,” I said, trying to hint that it’d be easier to just kill a guy like that rather than fight him.

Creeper clapped me on the shoulder. “I refuse your offer as frustrating as he will be. I want my own hero, Hussar. Now, we must be going. It is a shame we have to leave some of the money, but we have far to go and a lot of people to crowd in with.”

I raised my sword in the air. “I call shotgun!”

Creeper raised his gun. “And next time, Rouge will not stop us. You hear that, Rouge?” He made a show of looking around. “Next time!”

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